Maat (“ostrich feather”), in Egyptian mythology, the goddess of truth, justice and harmony, the daughter of the sun god Ra, a participant in the creation of the world. She played a prominent role in the afterlife judgment of Osiris. The center of the Maat cult was in the Theban necropolis. Since the ancient Egyptians believed that each deceased had to appear before 42 judges and plead innocent or guilty of sins, the soul of the deceased was weighed on the scales, balanced by the ostrich feather of the goddess Maat. Libra was held by Anubis and the verdict was pronounced by the husband of Maat, the god Thoth. If the heart was burdened with crimes, the monster Amtu, a lion with the head of a crocodile, devoured the deceased. If the deceased lived his life “with Maat in his heart”, was pure and sinless, then he revived for a happy life in the fields of paradise. Maat was usually depicted with a feather in her hair, which she placed on the scales at the trial. It was believed that people live “thanks to Maat, in Maat and for Maat.”
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Egyptian main description
Egyptian hieroglyphics are arguably one of the most famous examples of symbolism across history. Created by the ancient Egyptians, this served as their formal writing system. Hieroglyphics can be dated back to the 32nd century BC, and perhaps even earlier. Evidence demonstrates that this writing system continued into the Roman period of the 4th century AD. However, much of the knowledge of hieroglyphics and their meanings were lost after the end of pagan temples in the 5th century. There was no existing knowledge of what these symbols meant, how they were meant to be read and their significance.
Hieroglyphics were decoded in the 1820s with the aid of the Rosetta Stone by Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion. These symbols are not just phonetic sounds or symbols. In fact, they are a combination of different elements. As Jean-François Champollion discovered, hieroglyphics are a “complex system” that encompasses “figurative, symbolic, and phonetic all at once.” For many Egyptians, this form of writing was seen as the “words of God” and thus used by priests.
Generally, hieroglyphics in cursive form were used for religious texts and engraved into wood or written on papyrus. They are written in rows or columns and can be read either left to right or right to left. The direction can be established by seeing which way the human or animal figure faces at the beginning of the line.